The Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission has found Commonwealth officials committed gross maladministration, negligence and unlawful actions in drawing up the multi-billion-dollar deal to save Australia's largest river system.

They Royal Commission was sparked by allegations that billions of litres of water purchased by taxpayers to save Australia's inland rivers were instead being harvested by some irrigators to boost cotton-growing operations.

Water quality was also brought into question when thousands of dead fish, mainly native species such as bony bream, Murray cod, and golden and silver perch, were found along a 50-kilometre stretch of the river on three separate occasions within a two-month period.

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